America’s Diplomats are MVPs

February 1, 2013 By Zach Silberman

Sunday’s Super Bowl will not be lacking in action and interesting storylines, particularly the clash of the brothers Harbaugh.  And while the most valuable player of the Super Bowl will live on forever in football lore, I can’t help but think about some of the less celebrated MVP’s of America: our Foreign Service Officers.

We have talked before about how America’s diplomats work not only to “identify, cultivate, and strengthen alliances that secure our country” but also to “…advocate for open markets to ensure U.S. prosperity, and we support partners who share the values that are the foundation of our strength.”  And yet if we brought all of them to the Superdome for Sunday’s game, they would barely fill one section.


In a recent article by President and CEO of Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services Carolyn Woo, she writes about the Super Bowl and another great American tradition–development and diplomacy, which “demonstrates our nation’s finest values and doesn’t get nearly as much attention.” She goes on to contend that while “our military stands ready to respond to threats we face, many of these challenges defy military solutions.” The answer, says Woo, is to “utilize our tools of development and diplomacy alongside defense to keep America truly safe.”

The fact of the matter is that you can’t pick up a newspaper, open a web browser, or check your inbox without being bombarded by the array of complex and critical challenges our country faces. As Secretary Clinton remarked yesterday during her speech on American leadership at the Council on Foreign Relations, “our diplomatic power, the ability to convene, our moral suasion is effective because the United States can back up our words with action.” That action is strength of America’s military, but it is the combination of all three national security tools – diplomats and development officers, alongside our men and women in uniform – that makes America a “truly the indispensible nation.”

As we think about American traditions like the Super Bowl, it is important to remember the sacrifice and incredible impact of our Diplomatic MVP’s and the indispensible work they do abroad to enhance America’s role in the world.